A new statewide building code that will take effect Dec. 1 will add to the cost of new homes and change the home inspection process.

While it won’t create many problems for builders, small towns are scrambling to get up to speed on the rules while the state foresees problems in staffing to enforce the new code.

All local building codes will be void when the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code takes effect.

The new code is based on International Code Council standards, the same as most other building codes in the state. Air quality standards in the new code come from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. The radon code is a standard adopted by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Many of the codes are already on the books, said Eric Tuttle, project manager for Lajoie Bros. Inc. in Augusta.

“The new energy code will affect our values in these new houses because of the upgrades,” Tuttle said.

“But I don’t see it as a big change for us. I do think that small municipalities will probably get a little bit of an awakening, just because of the fact that these codes have been out there and they haven’t been following them.”

Enforcement will be tiered for municipalities with populations greater than 2,000.

Of those, cities and towns with local building codes will begin enforcing the new rules Dec. 1, while those without local codes won’t have to comply until 2012.

For towns with fewer than 2,000 residents, the law requires no action — unless the town has a local building code. In that case, the new code will replace it on Dec. 1.

No community is required by law to conduct inspections. In communities that choose to enforce the new standards, it will be left to code enforcement officers, who will have to be state-certified.

If a town chooses not to enforce the code, then a homeowner must pay for an inspector, who will have to be state-certified.

Kathleen McGibney Newman, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine, said her concern lies with such third-party inspectors, for which the State Planning Office has yet to create a training program.

Amanda Lessard of the State Planning Office said the 38-hour training session for code enforcement officers and third-party inspectors will include seven exams.

Code enforcement officers will train at no cost. The fee for third-party inspectors has yet to be set.

Bob St. Pierre, code enforcement officer for Randolph, Farmingdale and Chelsea, said he plans to enroll in the training program so he can be up to speed with the new energy codes.

Augusta city planner Matt Nazar said the city adopted and has enforced the international building code for more than 10 years.